Opposition parties urged to speak on sex work

02 Mar 2017 15:20pm
WINDHOEK, 02 MAR (NAMPA) – The Rights not Rescue Trust of Namibia (RnRT) has urged opposition parties to become vocal on decriminalising sex work.
The call comes ahead of International Sex Workers’ Rights Day which is celebrated annually on 03 March to raise awareness of sex workers, their rights as human beings and the call for the industry to be legalised where not.
RnRT Executive Director, Nicodemus Aoxamub, also known as Mama Africa, said during a media breakfast here on Thursday that Parliamentarians of opposition parties are often silent and do not speak in unison on issues affecting sex workers as well as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
Aoxamub said the non-governmental organisation is of the opinion that the rights of LGBTI communities and sex workers are not represented in Parliament, and therefore those communities continue living in fear as they are stigmatised, discriminated against and violated in public.
“Sex work is like any other work, but sex workers walk in fear because of stigmatisation and discrimination by healthcare providers and police officers.”
Mama Africa called on President Hage Geingob to look into decriminalising sex work and encourage Namibia to develop tolerance and acceptance of LGBTI people before his first term in office ends in 2020.
He said there are close to 15 000 sex workers in Namibia, most of whom are found at border towns like Oshikango in northern Namibia and Walvis Bay at the coast.
“Some workers trade as sex workers because they recognise sex work as normal jobs, while others do it for economic reasons,” he explained.
There is no law that protects sex workers in Namibia and sodomy is illegal.
Various groups have since independence lobbied for the decriminalisation of sex work in Namibia through the abolishment of the Combating of Immoral Practices Act of 1980, which amongst others criminalises prostitution.
The Act prohibits the soliciting of sex, trading as a prostitute and keeping a brothel.